Opportunity or Threat?

Opportunity or Threat?

Consider How You React When Confronted by the Unexpected
Change is inevitable, but the amount of change varies. When unexpected events disrupt your answering service and the way you conduct business, how do you respond? What once worked no longer does, or at least no longer works as well as it once did.

Do you view these pressures to the status quo as an opportunity for improvement or a threat to your future viability? How you frame the issue will dictate your action.

When events outside your answering service occur, do you embrace them or cower in fear?

Threat to the Status Quo
Many see change as a danger to maintaining business as usual. When confronted with fear, people have three responses: fight, flight, or freeze. Each is a way of responding to what you view as a danger, and each response may force you to fall short of the ideal solution.

A common reaction to a threat, perceived or real, is to fight it. You go on the offensive and oppose it. The opposite action to a threat is to retreat. The situation represents danger, and you want to remove yourself from the peril as quickly as possible. You run away. The third typical response to peril is to freeze, to do nothing, and hope the menace will soon pass.

Opportunity for Improvement 
Though each response—fight, flight, or freeze—is a common, understandable human reaction, none of them may be the ideal solution. To capitalize on the unwanted condition that confronts you, you will do well to reframe the situation, refusing to view it as a threat and instead embracing it as an opportunity.

What is this opportunity? Regardless of the situation, you can embrace it as a chance to foster improvement in your practices or processes to achieve an outcome superior to where you are presently.

These opportunities occur in two forms: pursuing incremental improvement or shifting your paradigm. The first is usually easier and faster, with a corresponding level of reward. The second takes longer and is more expensive, but it carries the potential to produce profound transformation.

Pursue Incremental Improvements
When you consider making incremental improvements, you look at what is and tweak it to make it better. You’re not reinventing what you do. Instead, you’re fine-tuning it.

If you have trouble attracting potential employees, you may change your ad or seek new channels to promote your message. If you have difficulty closing sales, you may adjust your prices or offer more features. And if employees don’t feel safe working in an office environment, you may implement health and safety protocols.

Shift Your Paradigm
Sometimes there are no more incremental improvements to make or the tweaks you might consider won’t produce the scope of advancement that you seek. This means you must overhaul and even replace what is so that you can produce the outcomes you need.

For example, when confronted with a staffing shortage, you may look at automation to supplement or even replace your employees. If you’re having difficulty closing sales, you may shift to a growth-via-acquisition strategy. And if you can’t get enough employees to work in your office, you could close it and have everyone work from home.

When confronted with change, resist the tendency to view it as a threat and reacting accordingly. Instead, refresh your perspective, and embrace it as an opportunity to make things better. Then look for ways to make it happen, either through incremental tweaks or a complete paradigm overhaul.

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